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Nov 6, 2018 10:39 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Girls Volleyball Defeats ESM To Reach Suffolk County Class A Championship

The Westhampton Beach girls volleyball team is heading to its fifth straight county championship.
Nov 6, 2018 5:01 PM

Maybe a fifth time’s the charm?

The Westhampton Beach girls volleyball team defeated cross-town rival Eastport South Manor, 3-0, on Monday evening, setting up what will be another showdown with Kings Park for the Suffolk County Class A Championship this Thursday, November 8, at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood at 5 p.m. It will be the fifth year in a row the two teams have met for the county title, with the previous four going to the Lady Kingsmen, who upset top seed East Hampton, 3-2, on Monday to advance.

The Lady Kingsmen, the fifth seed in Class A, have been a perennial powerhouse for some time now, but they appeared vulnerable this year, finishing the regular season 10-2 (13-4 overall) and in second place in League V behind ESM. But they have made it back to the county final, after having also defeated No. 4 Islip in their playoff opener.

“I’m excited to play them. You play them five times in a row, you’re hoping you win one,” Westhampton Beach head coach Lenny Zaloga said on Monday night. “Teams that we’ve beaten pretty easily this season have beaten them so you could say that’s a sign that we should at least be competitive against them, because the past few times we have played them in the county final we didn’t play well in any of those matches, so maybe we’re peaking at the right time this time around.”

Westhampton Beach defeated ESM, 25-21, 25-22, 26-24, on Monday and became the only team to defeat the Lady Sharks (16-2 overall) this season, having also won a 3-0 non-league match earlier in the season. But the Lady Canes (14-3) played their best match of the season on Monday, Zaloga said, something they have made a habit of in the past few county semifinals. This time it came with a number of lineup changes leading up to the match, something Zaloga doesn’t like to do this late in the season.

Amber Troutman, a junior in her third year on varsity, was promoted to the team’s starting setter, which meant two other spots on the court had to be replaced. Troutman had a very good match with 22 assists and Zaloga thinks he’s finally found a lineup he can stick with.

“The whole season I’ve been trying to find a steady lineup and I usually like to figure that out halfway through the season, but it’s taken all year long,” he explained. “The thing is that [the players] are all about the same, ability wise, so you try and find the one who makes the fewest errors to help you find one more point.

“I think this is pretty much the way we’re going to go. I can’t see any other changes,” Zaloga added. “It’s possible if someone is having a bad day, but today was the best match we played all year.”

Cortina Green, a senior, led the offense with 15 kills and she also had 11 digs. Juliette Seeliger, another senior who Zaloga said has really stepped up over the past 10 days, had seven kills. Junior Isabelle Smith finished with 26 digs and has close to 500 on the season, which is second in the state, Zaloga said. Smith also had the match-clinching point in the final set when she dove to dig a ball and put it in the back corner of the court where no ESM player could get to.

“The last seven to 10 days we’ve been having some really good practices. We played a really smart match today,” Zaloga said. “We get ourselves in trouble when we try and do more than we should. I think the girls understand that if we play the way we’re capable of playing we’re a tough team to beat.”

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